Dikteon Cave

Cave in Lasithi Plateau

Image by Jeff Knowles Getty Images

According to legend, Rhea hid in this cave to give birth to Zeus, far from the clutches of his offspring-gobbling father Cronos. A slick and vertiginous staircase corkscrews into the damp dark, passing overhanging stalactites and ethereal formations. It's a steep 800m walk to the cave entrance, either via a rocky but shaded natural trail or the sunny paved path starting near the car park.

The most famous formation is a stalactite nicknamed 'the mantle of Zeus' in the larger chamber on the right side. Votives found in the cave indicate that it was a place of cult worship from Minoan to Roman times. Some are now on display at the Archaeological Museum in Iraklio.